Church Culture (part 4)

Today our discussion changes from theory to practicality.  How do we implement the changes necessary to bring about a change in the attitudes and atmosphere in our churches?  I stated earlier that changes must be made one Christian and one congregation at a time.  Since we are autonomous as individual churches this is the only effective option to bring about necessary change.

     The first area that must be addressed is the area of education.  In many instances we are who we are because this is all that we know. We have been exposed to a particular preaching emphasis and it has brought about predictable results.  A preacher friend of mine once said, “It is a good thing that many of those who are members of the church were brought up in the church because otherwise they would have never studied their way to truth.”  This is a very scary thought.   It would be inappropriate to blame this on the masses.  All groups are similar in this respect.  We tend to accept the ideas of those we consider to be the experts.  If we don’t like the results we have no one to blame but ourselves.  For more than 100 years we have heard a distinct sound coming from our pulpits.  That sound did not include a passion for preaching Christ.  The sound we have heard is very heavy in the areas of patterns, restoration, blueprints, and self-reliance.  That same sound has been shallow in areas such as grace, faith, and trust in God.  There has been far too little preaching on what God has done for us.  Instead we have stressed man’s obedience to forms and patterns.

     The initial step in changing the atmosphere in each congregation is a change in the direction of the message.  We must stress a deep need for the Christ and the purpose He has in the lives of mankind. We must turn our atmosphere away from attempting to win arguments and proving doctrine.  Our direction has to become a genuine passion for telling the world about the Savior.  This begins with a proper emphasis in education and preaching.

     In 2 Thessalonians 3:1 Paul says, “Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored just as it was with you.”  Paul made it clear that his preaching consisted primarily in the message of Jesus.  This had been the case in Thessalonica and it was the case everywhere he went.  Paul wasn’t telling them not to worry about morality.  He fully expected them to adhere to messages he had brought to them earlier.  This didn’t alleviate their responsibility to deal with error.  What Paul was sharing with them was where he expected them to put their emphasis.

     If we continue to teach and emphasize the same things we have in the past we will continue to get the same results.  The first stage in bringing about change in the culture of our local churches must be a change in the emphasis of our preaching and education.  Our preaching and educational emphasis must be on Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  This is not a miracle cure.  It is simply the place we begin in turning things around.  It has taken us a long ime to get where we are today.  The change will not be easy but it is so necessary.



2 Responses to Church Culture (part 4)

  1. Dennis Ensor says:

    I appreciate the direction you are taking. We had a discussion in class yesterday about church in terms of who we are versus what we do. Unfortunately most of my life has been spent in the “doing” church rather than in the “being” church. It’s been spent in programs and doctrines and activities which can be done completely without a connection to God rather than in relationship with Jesus and with God and with my brethren. Being the body of Christ is something we are and not something we do. The more we know Christ the more we will naturally do the right things. Be still and know.

  2. dellkimberly says:

    Thanks Dennis,
    I had some time to put some thoughts together over the holidays. It really is a matter of emphasis. I miss your blog.
    Thanks for your interest.

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